With recent releases from artists such as Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar and D'Angelo, these past few years have been absolute gold for the R&B and hip-hop scene, characterized by an ignition of creativity and innovation that truly set out to elevate the genre, almost to the level of what I'd call a second golden age.
Noname definitely belongs to this revolution: She is already making major waves within the scene with "Telefone", her recently released new studio effort. The album features slightly over half an hour of excellent music, defying the boundaries of hip-hop, soul and R&B, while remaining faithful to the tradition aesthetics of the genre.
Noname's approach to her lyrical flow is absolutely one of a kind: musical, emotional and direct, her rapping features melody and rhythm in equal doses. Although the songs on the album are very energetic, there is a soothing quality to her delivery and to the overall production quality of the tracks that blink an eye to the old school of the genre.
Overall, the tone of "Telefone" is elegant, laid back and classy, with stunning rhythm work (awesome percussions and drums with a vintage feel) as well as haunting synths and atmospheres leading the charge. There's somewhat of a retro twist to many of the songs, including opening number "Yesterday", which does a great job setting the mood right for the entire duration of the LP. "All I Need", featuring Xavier Omar, is definitely one of my favorite songs on the entire tracks. The feel is loose and natural, and the beat is absolutely hypnotic and unpredictable, locking in perfectly with NoName's creative approach.
Another song that is worth mentioning is "Caket Pretty", which immediately impressed me with its beautiful loopy melodies. "Forever", a song that features a collaboration with Joseph Chilliams and Ravyn Lenae, is definitely one of the catchiest tracks on the entire album, with its upbeat atmosphere and playful lines. Overall, one of the most distinctive things about this album is the fact that the music and lyrics feel very intimate and personal, bringing a sense of closeness to the soul atmosphere.